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The five operational beamlines that constitute the Surfaces and Interfaces village include the Angle Resolved Photoelectron Spectroscopy (ARPES) beamline (I05), the Nanoscience beamline (I06), the Surface and Interface Diffraction beamline (I07), the Surface and Interface Structural Analysis beamline (I09) and the Beamline for Advanced Dichroism Experiments (I10). In addition, the Versatile Soft X-ray Scattering (VERSOX) beamline (B07) is in its final stages of construction, before user commissioning. The facilities within the village offer a comprehensive range of techniques to our users, enabling them to determine the physical and electronic structure of their samples using diffraction and spectroscopic techniques. New capabilities have been added over the last year including Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (AP-XPS), Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (NEXAFS), Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HAXPES) and spatially resolved Nano-ARPES. The offline capabilities have also been updated, the chemistry laboratory in particular has been expanded to become a village wide facility with more bench space, a second fume cupboard and facilities for ellipsometry and Brewster angle microscopy, tensiometer measurements and differential scanning calorimetry.
The development of high temperature superconductors would allow the conservation of huge amounts of energy lost to electrical resistance during transmission to consumers, as well as the development of new technologies such as high performance electrical motors, superconducting magnets for MRI scanners and magnetic levitation trains. However, the mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity is not yet understood.
Read more about this I05 highlights.
The development of high temperature superconductors would allow theWe’re all familiar with ferromagnets - there’s probably one stuck to your fridge - and ferromagnetism underpins many digital storage devices, from floppy disks and cassette tapes, through to computer hard drives and the magnetic strips on our credit cards. Ferromagnets react to external magnetic fields, which allows us to use them for data storage, but also makes them vulnerable to being wiped by magnetic fields generated by other equipment. Antiferromagnets are internally magnetic, but the individual magnetic moments inside cancel each other out so that there is no external magnetism. They don’t produce magnetic fields and they don’t react to magnetic fields, and they have the potential to make smaller, faster, and more robust and more energy efficient data storage devices. However, writing data to antiferromagnetic memory is a big challenge.
Read more about this I06 highlights.
Thin films of iron oxide, just one layer thick, are interesting both from a fundamental science perspective and for their possible applications. By changing the substrate onto which these films are grown, we can tune their structural and chemical properties, which makes them promising candidates for use in catalysis.
Read more about this I07 highlights.
Metal oxides display abrupt metal-to-insulator transitions (MITs), and for this reason might lead to the design of new electronic switches in the crucial search for ‘More-than-Moore’ technologies. In this context, vanadium dioxide (VO2) is a promising testing ground for improving the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for MITs that are thought to be driven cooperatively by Peierls and Mott physics – where the former relates to the crystal structure of the material, whereas the latter is concerned with electron correlations.
Read more about this I09 highlights.
Magnetic skyrmions – swirls of magnetic moments found in certain magnetic materials - are promising candidates for next generation memory devices. Thanks to their unique properties they can provide an increase in storage density, while at the same time dramatically saving electrical energy compared to their current ferromagnetic counterparts.
However within a given material skyrmions tend to form highly ordered long-range lattice states that need to be broken into smaller domains before they can be used as memory storage devices. To overcome this, researchers at Diamond Light Source turned to BLADE (Beamline for Advanced Dichroism Experiments), also known as I10, both to characterise the skyrmion structure and to create and control skyrmion lattice domains.
Read more about this I10 highlights.
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